Moviehole with Hugh Jackman in Sydney for The Wolverine launch

Producers of “The Wolverine” are still keeping quiet on who will play Viper when filming starts next week, but reports Jessica Biel pulled out of the part are false – only because she was never in to start with!

“From all the reports I’ve been seeing about Jessica Biel, they’re completely false,” James Mangold said this morning. “She was one of many actresses we were speaking to but no decisions had been made and nobody was definitely in or out.”

But he stopped short of confirming the rumours “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” actress Svetlana Khodchenkova would fill the role – “We’re not confirming anything today!”

Our Moviehole reporter Hugh Humphreys hung out with Mangold on the set of “The Wolverine” in Sydney this morning; along with Hugh Jackman and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

As you can see from the pictures the set on this sound stage is only just being built to keep it a secret – there’s even remnants from “The Great Gatsby” still on the ground in one of the photos!

[Pictures removed at the request of Fox Legal Department]

Hugh Jackman says he’s very happy to be home and filming a movie of this magnitude in Australia, especially seeing it’ll give Aussie crew a chance to get some great work close to home.

“We always punch above our weight, we Australians. Actors, directors, lighting, costume, set designers are all held in very high esteem around the world, and having an international film like “The Wolverine” here means we can train the next generation of filmmakers.”

Talking about the character of Wolverine itself, which Hugh will be playing for the 6th time (if you count the cameo in “X-Men: First Class”!):

“I was lucky enough to start the character 12 yars ago from a comic that started 50 or 60 years ago, and there was a massive following for the character. He’s really been the backbone of my career and I love Wolverine. At the time of the first movie I really had no choice but to take anything that came along, but I’ve been lucky enough to walk into a character that’s the most interesting and complex of superhero characters, and I’ve always loved playing it.”

On keeping the Wolverine franchise going:

“I’m sure the franchise will live long beyond me. I do them one at a time and see how I go. When I saw the script and when Jim [Magnold] got on board – I feel like a golfer looking for a hole in one – I thought it was the best script and we had the chance to really make a definitive movie”.

And Hugh laughed about getting his Wolverine body back after trimming down for “Les Miserables”:

“It’s not easy. And by the way, it gets harder every year! That was a particular challenge, because at the start of filming I was 83kgs and had to finish up 97kgs. We did have a family holiday recently, but it felt more like boot camp for me!”

The Australian Government splashed out $12.8 million dollars to convince producers to make “The Wolverine” in Sydney’s Fox Studios, and it’ll create 2000+ local jobs.

There were even jokes about Prime Minister Julia Gillard being offered a role – Hugh said “It’s not a traditional role, she could be my stunt double! She is incredible. If you know of her martial arts background; the movie is set in Japan and she really is very handy with a sword and with a nunchuck!”

[Pictures removed at the request of Fox Legal Department]

Filming starts next week, ahead of a slated 2013 release date.

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